Daly wipes off his beer mustache, looks around and sees that quite a few people are listening.

                                It's not that interesting.

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                Come on.

Daly looks around, then sums up quickly.

                                The first one was in China in 1900 during
                                the Boxer Rebellion.  Second was in Haiti
                                a couple of years ago.

Daly shrugs, takes a drink.

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                So what happened?

                                                           (waves his hand)
                                You don't wanna hear.

The Top Kick looks around and everyone in the vicinity is paying attention.

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                Yeah we do.


                                                                 TOP KICK
                                Unless you still wanna fight?

                                OK, all right.  You're probably all too young
                                to remember, but in1900, in China all the
                                peasants went crazy and started killin' all the
                                foreigners, startin' with the Christian missionaries.
                                The foreign embassies in Peking are in a walled-
                                off compound.  When the peasants attacked,
                                and there were thousands of 'em, we shut the
                                gates and defended the compound for 55 days.
                                There were thirty-three other Marines and sailors
                                that got Medals of Honor for that action.

Cpl. Meyers speaks up.

                                Yeah, Gunny, but why did you get yours?
                                I've been meaning to ask for months.

Daly looks around and everybody around is listening.  He takes a slow drink of beer.

                                Well, there were a couple hundred Marines,
                                from all over the world, mind you, Japanese,
                                French, British, German, all kinds.  And there
                                were all these ambassadors from all over the
                                world, and their wives and kids, too.  So the
                                Chinese peasants set fire to the wall of the
                                compound.  While the other fellas were putting
                                out the fire and fixing it, I worked myself into a
                                good defensive position and kept the fellas safe
                                while they worked.

                                How long did you hold that position?

                                About 24 hours, I suppose.

                                And what were you doing for that 24 hours?

                                I was shootin' every slope-head that got
                                near that wall, that's what I was doin'.

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                How many of these Chinese you figure
                                you shot?

                                A lot.

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                What's that mean?

                                It means a lot, that's what it means.

The Top Kick and Meyers look at each other.


Daly shrugs and drinks his beer.

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                                           (Daly shrugs again)

                                Look, it doesn't really matter, does it?

                                                                 TOP KICK

                                Well, actually, it was about 120, OK?  But
                                it had to be done.  Now let's just drop it
                                'cause I don't like thinkin' about it.

Everybody looks at each other in amazement. Meyers speaks for everyone.

                                You shot 120 Chinese peasants in 24 hours?
                                That's five an hour.  Almost one every ten

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                -For 24 hours.

Daly looks like he's getting angry, his eye is twitching.  He takes several deep breaths and rubs his eyebrows.

                                Look, someone had to do it, otherwise
                                they'd of killed every last one of us, women
                                and children included.  They'd already
                                killed every Christian missionary in the
                                country, which included a lot of women
                                and kids.

                                So how'd you get the second one?

                                Come on, will ya?  Enough already.

                                Gunny, you never talk about any of this stuff.
                                Now's your chance to finally tell it and be
                                done with it.

Daly looks around at the eager expectant faces, among them a pretty woman of about 35 sitting by herself at the bar, clearly listening.  She smiles at Daly.  Maybe there is a good reason to tell the story now.

                                We're down in Haiti fighting the Banana Wars
                                to keep the United Fruit Company safe from
                                rebels.  So me and 20 of my guys are on a patrol
                                in the jungle, when suddenly we're bein' chased
                                by hundreds of these native rebels all firin'
                                weapons at us.  While we're crossing a river the
                                Lewis gun falls in and it sinks to the bottom.
                                Well, if we were gonna make it through the night
                                surrounded by hundreds of natives, I figured
                                we might have some use for that machine gun.

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                Yeah?  So?

                                So, I got my men to a decent defensive position,
                                and as soon as it got dark I sneaked out and
                                got the Lewis gun back.

Daly shrugs; simple.

                                                                 TOP KICK

                                How what?

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                How'd you get a Lewis gun from the bottom
                                of a river.

                                I dove in and got it.

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                But a Lewis gun weighs a ton.

                                You're tellin' me.

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                And it still worked?

                                Sure.  The ammo didn't go in.  Lewis gun's
                                a good weapon, dry it off it's as good as

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                And did you end up using it?

                                Oh yeah.  If we didn't have it we would've
                                been killed.  They attacked all night long.

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                And how many of these natives did you

                                Personally, I don't know.  All together we
                                probably killed a hundred of 'em.  They
                                killed eight of my men.

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                But now you don't fight no more.

                                Well, I try not to get mad anymore, and
                                then when I'm not mad I don't need to
                                fight.  I've made peace with the world.

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                I got news for you, Gunny, everybody else
                                in the world is in a war.

                                Hey, they've got their agenda and I've
                                got mine.  'Scuse me a minute, boys,
                                duty calls.

Daly heads around the bar to where the pretty 35-year old woman named BRIGITTE is sitting and seats himself beside her.

The Top Kick and Meyers exchange a look.

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                Your Gunny's nuts.

                                He's been sittin' around too long and
                                readin' too many books.

                                                                 TOP KICK
                                Oh, yeah, well that'll do it.

Everyone nods in agreement and drinks.



Daly and the attractive woman, Brigitte, come strolling up the street talking.


                                . . . And then, I got so mad, I took the
                                whole bucket of milk and poured it right
                                on his head.  And that was the end of my
                                days living on a farm.

                                So why didn't you stay in Paris?

                                It's too big, too many people, too many
                                automobiles.  After a few days I just want
                                to hit people to get them out of my way.

                                You're a pretty angry young woman.

                                I'm not so young.

                                To me you are.  Anyone under 40 is a

Brigitte smiles.  They stop in front of a butcher's shop, beside which is a yellow door leading to an upstairs apartment.

                                This is it.

                                Above the butcher shop.

                                I usually eat pretty well.  So, would you
                                care to come in?

Daly looks at his watch and sadly shakes his head.

                                No can do.  Gotta be back on base in
                                a few minutes.  Maybe another time?

                                                           (smiles wistfully)

They shake hands, then Daly turns and walks away.  Brigitte watches him go, the wistful smile still on her face, then goes inside the yellow door.


A pile of sweet Caporal butts, these belonging to Zachio.  The back door of the Cheval Blanc Club opens and out steps one of the waitresses, YVONNE.  She's thirty and has been a cocktail waitress for ten years.  With this is in mind, she's quite attractive.  Zachio pops up from behind a wagon, his hands in his pockets, a cigarette hanging from his lips.  He follows along beside Yvonne.

                                Bon jour, Yvonne.

                                                           (smiles; French accent)
                                Bon soir, Provet.  How long have you been

                                Just got here.  Where ya goin'?

                                Home.  It's late.  Almost midnight.  Don't you
                                have to be back at the base?

                                Nah.  I got special permission from General
                                Bundy, he's my uncle.

                                General Bundy is not your uncle, Private

                                No, we just called him uncle.  He was more
                                like a friend of the family.

                                Where are you going?

                                With you.

                                With me?  And then what happens?

                                Yvonne, mon cheri, then it's up to you.
                                Even if I merely get to walk you home, I
                                am a happy man.

Yvonne glances over at Zachio, amused.  He grins back.  They turn the corner out of sight . . .


Hughes and M. LaFollette are done playing chess.  They both sit in easy chairs, pipes in their mouths, glasses of port at hand.  Both are in contemplative moods.

                                All I ever wanted was to make my wife happy,
                                give her what she wanted, give her the family
                                she never had.  I failed on all counts.  We
                                struggled and saved and squabbled about
                                every centime.  She was never able to become
                                pregnant, and when I finally could afford to buy
                                her things, she died.  So you see, life is a long
                                series of desiring things you will not have, or
                                will no longer want when you get them.

                                If I'd known losing would depress you so much,
                                I'd have let you win.

                                No, no, no.  Pardon.  I apologize, Monsieur
                                Hughes.  I've become morose.  Excuse'moi.
                                                           (downs his port)
                                Ah!  So?  Why, if you don't mind me asking, are
                                you one of the first Americains to arrive here in
                                Francais?  You must have joined the army right
                                away when America declared war.

                                                           (correcting him)
                                                           (M. LaFollette nods)
                                Yes, I did.  The first day.  I was in college . . .
                                                           (M. LaFollette looks at
                                                           him blankly)
                                . . . Uh, university . . .
                                                           (M. LaFollette nods and smiles)
                                . . . Ohio State University.  Studying history.
                                Suddenly, history was going on around me.
                                Why read about it in books?  Why not be a
                                part of it?  Besides, the Hun's gotta be stopped,
                                right?  We can't let them take over Europe, 'cause
                                next comes the whole world, right?  And I don't like

                                                           (shakes his head; smiles)
                                Nor I.  You are a very interesting young man,
                                Monsieur Hughes.  And a very fine chess player.

                                Thank you, Monsieur LaFollette.  I was in the chess
                                club in high school.  I really do appreciate your
                                hospitality.  If it wasn't for your cake to look forward
                                to, I'd be having a much harder time in the military.
                                                           (looks at his watch)
                                I've got to get back to the barracks.

They both stand.  M. LaFollette walks Hughes to the door.

                                I suppose you must go fight soon.
                                                           (Hughes shrugs)
                                Do me a very large favor, will you?

                                Sure.  What?

M. LaFollette takes Hughes hand and shakes it.

                                Don't get killed.  The Boche, they are not
                                playing games, you know, like chess, compre

                                Neither are we.

Hughes leaves.  M. LaFollette sighs sadly, closing the door.



Daly steps up to a wooden door marked "Lt. Clifton Cates."  Daly considers for a moment, then knocks.  Lt. Cates' voice with a southern drawl is heard.

                                Come on in.

Daly enters.


Daly steps inside and finds LIEUTENANT CLIFTON B. CATES, a hawk-faced man from Tennessee with a thin mustache, sitting at his desk writing.  He looks up.

                                Yes, Gunny, what can I do for you?

Daly doesn't know how to begin.

                                Would you like to sit down?

Daly sits down on the cot, looking troubled.

                                What is it, sergeant?

                                Well, the thing is, I just don't want to fight
                                anymore, sir.

                                But we haven't started yet, sergeant.

                                Yeah, well, I did, a long time ago.  And
                                now I want to stop.

                                Are you drunk?

                                No, sir.  I've been reading these book, see?
                                And I see now that I was getting' mad for
                                no reason.  And when I get mad is when
                                I fight.

                                So you're not getting mad anymore.

                                Correct.  Therefore if I'm not mad, I'm
                                not fighting.

Lt. Cates doesn't understand.

                                Sergeant, you're the most decorated man
                                in the company.  Hell, in the entire battalion.
                                You've seen more action than anyone here.

                                My point exactly.  And now that I've found
                                some inner peace, I feel that I've fought

                                You know we're going to get called up to
                                the line any day now

                                I know.  I fear that I've possibly waited too
                                long as it is.

Lt. Cates is developing a sharp headache in his eyebrows.

                                So, what are you looking for?  A transfer?
                                A discharge?  You're pretty close to your
                                20 years, aren't you?

                                Yes, sir.  Five months.

                                This is madness, sergeant.  How can I
                                convince you?

                                I don't think you can, sir.  I've been thinking
                                about this a lot.  It would really take something
                                big to get me to change my mind.

Cates and Daly look at each other for a long moment.  Suddenly, a loud siren goes off and a voice is heard coming from the P.A. system . . .

                                General quarters!  General quarters!  All
                                personnel, general quarters!!

Cates and Daly both look around, then look at each other.  Cates shakes his head.

                                How's that?  Good enough for you?

Daly looks a bit spooked.

                                Uh . . . I suppose so.

                                Good.  I'm going to pretend like I didn't
                                hear any of this, sergeant.  Go get the men
                                and get ready to move out.

In walks CAPTAIN LLOYD WILLIAMS, a tall, good-looking, 40-year old officer with a walking stick.

                                Our time has come, Lt. Cates.
                                                           (sees Daly)
                                "Fighting Dan" Daly.

                                Cap'n Williams.

                                Just the man I wanted to see.

Daly stands and salutes.  Williams tells Cates.

                                You know, Sgt. Daly and I were shipmates
                                on my very first tour.  1908, the China Sea.
                                We were aboard the U.S.S. Newark. .

                                Yeah, that was some rough sailing, too, as
                                I recall.

                                And I was just a kid, too.  Seasick all the
                                                           (claps his hands)
                                Well, gentlemen, time to go fight a war.
                                And you know what?  Lt. Cates, Sgt. Daly,
                                you're just the men I want to see.  As it turns
                                out, we don't have very many vehicles
                                here in France and we're waiting for the
                                French to supply them.  We do, however,
                                have a motorized machine gun unit right
                                here with their own vehicles.  Lt. Cates,
                                Sgt. Daly, I want you and your men to
                                accompany them -- guard them.  Understand?
                                A French truck will be here momentarily.  As
                                soon as it arrives, board and embark.  No

Daly stands and salutes.

                                Yes, sir.

                                Good.  Get your men ready.

                                Yes, sir.

Daly and Cates exchange a look.  Daly turns and exits.



Lt. Cates comes striding in to the barracks wearing a long coat and a helmet, his walking sticks in his hands.  Daly sees him.


Sgt. Daly stands before his men, who are all lined up and ready to go.

Lt. Cates steps forward whacking his swagger stick into his palm.

                                All the men here, sergeant?

                                Private Zachio ain't showed up yet, sir.

                                Men, this is it.  We move out right away.
                                The Germans have advanced seventy
                                miles toward Paris.  The French and the
                                British have fallen back.  We're gonna go
                                fill the gap in the line.  This is America's
                                entry into the great war, men.  I don't need
                                to tell you this is important.  It is.  I'm proud
                                to be the first to fight, and I know you are,
                                too.  Let's get out there and not only show
                                'em what kinda grit Americans have, let's
                                show 'em how much grit American Marines
                                have, all right?

The men speak simultaneously.

                                YES, SIR!

Lt. Cates turns to Sgt. Daly.

                                Any problems, Sergeant?

                                No, sir.

Lt. Cates nods, salutes, turns and leaves.

                                                           (to men)
                                You heard the Lieutenant, let's get them
                                bony asses movin'!  Let's go!



A wooden garage sits in a flat, open area near some woods.  Ten 1917, U.S. Military Dodge trucks are parked both inside and out.



A field telephone rings and is answered by CAPTAIN CHARLES F. HOUGHTON, a blond, thirty year old from a rich family in New York City.  He holds a hand-carved, ivory and pearl, walking stick on his lap, and smokes a cigarette with his feet up on the desk.

                                                           (listens; jumps to his feet)
                                Yes, sir!  Right away, sir!
                                Chateau-Thierry.  Don't let 'em cross the
                                Marne River.  Got it, sir!  We'll be there
                                first, sir, I assure you!

Capt. Houghton hangs up the phone, turns and yells:

                                All right, you greasy machine rats!  Gather

Forty men crowd in.  In front is LT. JOHN BISSELL, who looks like he's sixteen.

                                That was Major Taylor on the horn.  It looks
                                like we're up to bat.  We're the nearest motor-
                                ized unit with our own vehicles.  That means
                                we've got to get to the objective first, before
                                anyone else.  Everyone of these Goddamn
                                trucks better be running and in perfect tune,
                                I can tell you that!

                                They are, sir.

                                Then let's stop talking about it and get these
                                flivvers cranked up!

Men start running in all directions.  Engines fire up.  Drive shafts turn.  Exhaust smoke belches out.  Big Hotchkiss machine guns are loaded into the trucks, as well as boxes of ammo.


Our guys of the 6th Marines, fully equipped in long coats, boots, puttees, rifles, ammo belts, steel helmets, and 70 pound packs, are lined up in front of the barracks.  A French military truck pulls up before Daly and his men.  The truck is driven by two small, uniformed, French Indo-Chinese (now known as Vietnamese) men.  Gastovich turns to Maggione.

                                I never seen fellas like this.  Where you
                                boys from?

The VIETNAMESE DRIVER, busily smoking a cigarette, replies in broken English, with an Asian accent:

                                                                 VIETNAMESE DRIVER
                                We from French Indo-China.  From the
                                Tonkin Province.  You know where that is?
                                I bet you don't.

All the guys turn and look at Hughes.  Hughes looks back at his expectant buddies, tapping his forehead.

                                . . . That's near Siam, right?

                                                                 VIETNAMESE DRIVER
                                                           (nods; impressed)
                                Yeah.  Right.  How you know that?

Hughes' buddies slap him on the back and punch him in the arms.  Knute Swenson is really impressed.

                                How do you know all that bunk, Hughes?

                                What can I say, boys?  It's not that I'm really
                                so smart, it's that you fellas are so damned

Cpl. Meyers looks around anxiously.

                                Speakin' of dumb, where the hell is Zachio?

All our guys start to climb aboard the waiting truck.  Lt. Cates come walking up with a full pack.  PFC Argaut reaches out for the pack.

                                Here, let me get that.

Gastovich whispers to Maggione.


Lt. Cates asks Sgt. Daly:

                                Any word on Zachio?

                                                           (shakes his head)
                                No, sir.  Not a sign.

                                We can't wait.  Let's move it out, sergeant.

Daly sighs and nods.

                                Get a move on, ya sons of bitches!  The
                                Kaiser's waitin' t' tuck ya in!

One of the Vietnamese drivers gets in the cab, while the other goes around to the front of the truck and cranks the drive shaft, attempting to start the engine.  It doesn't catch the first time.

Cates, Daly, and Meyers all look at each other with troubled expressions.

                                Zachio'll get court-martialed for sure.  I
                                shoulda looked out for him, it's my

                                                           (shakes his head)
                                No it's not.  He didn't come back last night.
                                It was out of your hands at midnight.


                                Which is all that counts, technically.  We are
                                in the military after all, corporal, technically

The Vietnamese man in front gives another crank and the engine catches.  He runs around and jumps into the passenger seat.  The driver puts the truck in gear and starts to pull away.

Just then Pvt. Zachio comes running up at top speed between the rows of barracks.  He's got no shirt or shoes on, and is holding his pants up.

                                Hey!  Hold on!  Wait for me!

Everybody in the rolling truck sees him at the same time.


                                Come on, Zachio!  Run!

                                I'm runnin'!  I'm runnin'!  Whaz it look like
                                I'm doin'!

Cates and Daly share a smile, shaking their heads.  Meyers and Daly reach out for Zachio's hands.  As they grab him he lets go of his pants.  Zachio is hauled into the truck with his pants around his ankles.  Maggione asks for everyone:

                                Zachio, where you been?

Zachio sees Lt. Cates and Sgt. Daly looking down at him.  He quickly pulls up his pants.  Zachio smiles, and shrugs, becoming coy.

                                Everyone doesn't need to know 'bout my
                                love life.

                                No, no, Zachio.  We're all just dyin' to know.

Zachio looks around at all the expectant faces, then smiles happily.

                                Yvonne from the Cheval Blanc.

He shrugs humbly.  Everybody looks at each other, then back at Zachio.


Pvt. Zachio smiles, nods, and winks.

                                Oh, yeah.

Everyone looks at Zachio and smiles wistfully, considering the idea . . .


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